• They are about 1/4 inch long, shaped in a flat oval and reddish-brown in color. They have no wings.

• They feed only on blood (human or animal), usually when their victims are sleeping, as they might spend 5 to 10 minutes ingesting several times their body weight in blood.

• They don't spread disease, so are not tracked by state health departments.

• Fewer than half of people who get bit show a visible reaction on skin.

• They leave behind tiny reddish-brown to black waste speckles on mattresses and sheets.

• They hide in wall crevices, between floorboards and behind wall sockets as well as mattress and upholstery seams.

• They can live for a year without eating.

• Females usually lay at least a few eggs every day, up to 500 in their life span.

• Bedbugs are not more attracted to dirtier environments (but are much harder to eradicate in clutter).


• When traveling, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking; check bedsheets for telltale blood or waste spots. If any bugs or spots are found, request a room change immediately, preferably in another part of the hotel.

• In hotels, keep your suitcase on the luggage rack, away from the bed. If you're really paranoid, bring along a giant plastic sealable bag to encase your luggage.

• Hang clothes in closets, but don't put them in hotel drawers.

• When you get home from a trip, vacuum your suitcases and wash all your clothes right away or put them in a sealable plastic bag until you can.

• Don't put purses and other personal items on floors in public spaces.